Thursday, May 31, 2012

Temple of Anubis

In ancient Egypt, Anubis was seen as the guardian of the afterlife. He protected tombs and guided embalmers. He weighed the hearts of men and decided their ultimate fate. Anubis was generally depicted as a jackal-headed man or as a full jackal. Pasukaru designed this Temple of Anubis, featuring that great statue in the center.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Vatican City

I've previously blogged on architect Stephen Schwartz of Building Blocks Workshops when he has conducted events at schools and synagogues to build important structures from Jewish history. He's branching out, and recently conducted a workshop at a Catholic school to make a LEGO Vatican City. After the 5th, 6th and 7th graders worked together to build important structures from the Vatican such as the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's, Schwartz then gave the students a tour and told them about the different buildings.

Monday, May 28, 2012


In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
Pedjahrubik made this medieval communion scene.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Around the world, Jews are celebrating Shavuot, the anniversary of God giving the Law to Moses atop Mount Sinai, as noted in LEGO form by Joanna.

She also briefly discusses the old 'horned Jew' stereotype. When Moses descended from the mountain, his face was shining with the reflected glory of God, such that he had to wear a veil so as not to frighten the Israelites. The word translated as radiant in Exodus 34:29 (When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was 'radiant' because he had spoken with the Lord.) was mistranslated as 'horned' in the Vulgate and then again in the original King James. It's basically a confusion of the Hebrew words 'keren' and 'karan'. So many Christians in the middle ages and even some more recently thought that Jews had horns. Joanna pokes some fun at this image with a Viking helmet for Moses:

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Popemobile revisited

Gufy presents a different Popemobile. The Mercedes Benz ML 430 was introduced in 2002 and used by John Paul in his final years and then by Benedict. Note that this is completely enclosed in bullet proof glass - a feature that was seen as necessary in the Pope's cars after the 1981 attempt on John Paul's life (though the Pope occasionally travels in open air cars under more controlled circumstances).

Friday, May 25, 2012


In 1978, Karol Józef Wojtyła was chosen as the first non-Italian Pope in 400 years. The next year, Pope John Paul II traveled to his native Poland, a trip with both religious and political significance, as it was seen as a powerful symbol in opposition to the then-ruling Communist regime. While he was there, he rode around in a converted FCS Star, open to the air to see the surrounding crowds. The 1979 Popemobile is here given LEGO form by Noddy.

BTW, I love this scene of the Pope as mechanic:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

St. Stephen

While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. - Acts 7:59-60
The stoning of St. Stephen by MCLegoboy

Monday, May 21, 2012

World Turtle

Various ancient cosmologies held that the world rests on the back of a turtle, or on an elephant, or is perhaps contained in the shell of a turtle (with the earth being the lower shell and the sky the upper shell. Some westerners mixed these myths together to say that Hindus believe that the earth rests on four elephants who stand on the back of a giant turtle, and this was repeated by Bertrand Russel. This doesn't really fit Hindu myths, but there is a story where the gods and demons were churning the ocean of the milky way with a mountain that started sinking, so Vishnu came in the form of a tortoise and supported the mountain on his back. Even though a corruption of the ancient myths, this elephants and tortoise picture is a potent one (and I assumed it came from actual ancient myths), and it shows up in the Discworld novels, as shown here by zgrredek.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dreidel dreidel dreidel, I made it out of LEGO

I found this image via Pinterest. It was found on Etsy by ValGlaser, but doesn't seem to be there any more. The dreidel is a little top used in a game played by Jewish kids at Hanukkah. Each side bears a letter with a dual meaning. The four letters are the first letters of each word in the Hebrew phrase for 'A great miracle happened there' - referring to the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days at the rededication of the Temple. The letters also stand for the Yiddish words for nothing, half, all and put-in, which are the rules of the dreidel game. Each player places a game piece (perhaps a piece of candy, or a penny) in the pot, and then each player spins the dreidel in turn. They follow directions, either taking pieces from the pot or putting them in. The player who ends up with the pieces wins.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Noah's Ark: The Brick Bible for Kids

I think this actually just came out yesterday. Brendan Powell Smith has released another book entitled Noah's Ark: The Brick Bible for Kids. You can get this on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or a signed copy though Brendan's site. It appears that this is a total rebuild and reshoot of the story as seen on the Brick Testament (which itself was a rebuild of his original version from 2002, so this is his third time at this story). At 32 pages with only a few words per page, this is focused on (from what we can see in the preview images) beautiful photography. This is a children's book and looks very age appropriate.*,**,*** I'm totally going to buy this for my kids.

* For those who may not know Brendan's work (and is there anyone who reads this blog who doesn't?), he will occasionally label his stories with warnings for violence or sexual content, and as I recall, in the original version of his story from 2002, when God looked down on the earth and saw if full of sin, we saw illustration that had some implied sexual goings-on. In this version (you can preview this page on Amazon) you see people fighting, some with weapons implying murder or war, some blood, and someone stealing a purse.
** This, of course, completely glosses over the question over why sexual content is age-inappropriate but violence and murder is age-appropriate. I'll leave that for other parents to debate. We do let our kids see movies with non-graphic violence, and even play with toy squirt guns. I realize that makes me a horrid parent in some people's eyes.
*** And of course, even more blatantly, this glosses over the question of whether the whole story where God decides to wipe out all of humanity aside from eight people is age appropriate in the first place. I'm sure Brendan would be the first to point this out.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Seokguram Grotto

Mt. Tohamsan on the east coast of Korea is home to the Bulguksa temple complex. This complex includes the Seokguram Grotto. The chambers of this temple represent a spiritual pilgrimage, from earth to heaven. At the center is a 3.5 meter high Buddha statue, here in LEGO form by Nangman.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Yin and Yang

The concept of yin and yang is important in various Asian religions and philosophies. The concept is that the world is full of various dualities, such as dark and light, or male and female. These dualities are interdependent, and in their interaction they create new things. These are all manifestations of the yin and the yang. This symbol has been recreated in many ways in LEGO form:

My all time favorite has to be this by Noddy.

To fully appreciate this MOC, you have to also look at it from above.

Lego27bricks recently did something similar.

Here's my own effort.

The yin/yang symbol provides a backdrop to martial artists by pguenthe ...

... and Collin Ballantyne.

Heath Flor celebrated Talk Like a Pirate Day a couple of years back with ninjas vs pirates.

The opposition is shown here by Madformax1.

Here's Remyth's Temple of Yin and Yang.

Jim Walshe ...

... and ANVRecife have had some fun with photography.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Bricko illustrated the song Mountaintop by the City Harmonic.

We've been to the mountaintop
We've seen the glory of our God
He is here, in the valley low
He's here, I feel it in my bones, our God
Here and now, we are the body of our God

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Never another set 1309, or maybe not

I've previously noted how it's been 54 years since LEGO produced an explicitly religious set.

Now LEGO has given us an official statement (or not, see below). Cuusoo is a website that allows anyone to suggest possible sets for LEGO to produce. If a set idea gets 10,000 votes, LEGO will consider producing the set. Two of the first five suggestions to reach this bar (Shawn of the Dead and Firefly) have been rejected because they do not fit LEGO brand standards, since they are not kid-friendly. LEGO has since released a statement about brand standards, saying what they will not accept. This includes things like sex, drugs, alcohol, torture ... and religion. Okay, I know that there is always going to be possible controversy if they introduce religion, but it just doesn't fit with those others (to be fair, they also exclude political creations). Here's the quote: "Understand that we will not produce products that are related to these topics: ... Religious references including symbols, buildings, or people."

Okay, that seems definitive. But then move on over to the LEGO Architecture site. Here you can vote on buildings that LEGO chose as potential future sets.

And three out of ten are religious structures - the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Saint Basil's, and Sagrada Familia:

I realize that most people don't think religion when they see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. At least before I went to Italy 20 years ago I always just figured it was a tower that leaned, but then when I went to Pisa I found it sitting right next to a cathedral, because the Tower is a campanile, or bell tower. St. Basil's similarly has become more of a national symbol of Russia (even of Communism in years gone by), and acts as a museum today. Sagrada Familia, on the other hand, is a working Catholic Cathedral. Now, don't get me wrong, I think all of these would be great sets. Indeed, I think that the LEGO Architecture line is probably our only real chance of getting religiously-themed sets (aside from some of the passing implications I previously noted). I'd just like to see some official word from LEGO on this whole area.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Magi and the Star

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. (Matthew 2:10)

Amada/edulyoung made this beautiful piece, The Magi and the Star.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Take me to the river, drop me in the water

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” - Mark 1:9-11
Illustrated by Christopher Baldacci